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Secondary metabolite

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Title: Secondary metabolite  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Metabolite, Natural product, Herbivore adaptations to plant defense, Polyphenol, Secondary metabolites
Collection: Metabolism, Plant Physiology
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Secondary metabolite

Secondary metabolites are survivability, fecundity, or aesthetics, or perhaps in no significant change at all. Secondary metabolites are often restricted to a narrow set of species within a phylogenetic group.[2] Secondary metabolites often play an important role in plant defense against herbivory[3] and other interspecies defenses.[4] Humans use secondary metabolites as medicines, flavorings, and recreational drugs.


  • Human Health Implications 1
  • Categories 2
    • Small "small molecules" 2.1
    • Big "small molecules", produced by large, modular, "molecular factories" 2.2
    • Non-"small molecules" - DNA, RNA, ribosome, or polysaccharide "classical" biopolymers 2.3
  • See also 3
  • References 4

Human Health Implications

Most polyphenol nutraceuticals from plant origin must undergo intestinal transformations, by microbiota and enterocyte enzymes, in order to be absorbed at enterocyte and colonocyte levels. This gives rise to diverse beneficial effects in the consumer, including a vast array of protective effects against viruses, bacteria, and protozoan parasites. [5]


Most of the secondary metabolites of interest to humankind fit into categories which classify secondary metabolites based on their biosynthetic origin. Since secondary metabolites are often created by modified primary metabolite synthases, or "borrow" substrates of primary metabolite origin, these categories should not be interpreted as saying that all molecules in the category are secondary metabolites (for example the steroid category), but rather that there are secondary metabolites in these categories.

Small "small molecules"

Big "small molecules", produced by large, modular, "molecular factories"

Non-"small molecules" - DNA, RNA, ribosome, or polysaccharide "classical" biopolymers

See also


  1. ^ Fraenkel, Gottfried S. (May 1959). "The raison d'Etre of secondary plant substances". Science 129 (3361): 1466–1470.  
  2. ^ "Chemical plants". Retrieved 2008-12-19. 
  3. ^ Stamp, Nancy (March 2003). "Out of the quagmire of plant defense hypotheses". The Quarterly Review of Biology 78 (1): 23–55.  
  4. ^ Samuni-Blank, M; Izhaki, I; Dearing, MD; Gerchman, Y; Trabelcy, B; Lotan, A; Karasov, WH; Arad, Z (2012). "Intraspecific Directed Deterrence by the Mustard Oil Bomb in a Desert Plant".  
  5. ^
  6. ^ Chizzali, Cornelia and Beerhues, Ludger (2012). "Phytoalexins of the Pyrinae: Biphenyls and dibenzofurans". Beilstein J. Org. Chem. 8: 613–620.  
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